Music shows and releases

The Real Dolls interview with Rod Hotly

The Real Dolls is an interesting name, where did it originate from?

I saw a documentary about this special effects dude from Hollywood who specialised in synthetic head and body replicas that are used when actors or actresses get blown up. He got some requests to build these dolls for certain individuals’ personal use! His company was born and the name he gave his creations was ‘the real doll’. Initially, I just wrote a song on the subject but as I thought more about how we were planning to mould ourselves into a super group it struck me that the name would be perfect for this new collective.

How did the band form? How did you all meet each other?

The band that now stands together has taken a little while to form as a solid group. The very first incarnation of the group came out of some drunken jam sessions between Ricky X, Peter Parker and me. We wrote some songs and performed one legendary gig but Parker wasn’t able to commit to us due to his full time job rocking the world as Fingathing. In the meantime, I was asked to contribute some vocal ‘majic’ on a project an old friend was producing. This friend was also then working with Real Dave. One thing led to another and Dave joined the Dolls. Running in tandem to all of this was mine and Ricky X’s project RICKENROD. RICKENROD had a dancer named Yoshi, who lived with us, and we asked her to join the ever growing collective that is The Real Dolls. We played around Manchester for a year or so and built up an envied live reputation. Parker saw one of our shows and wanted to rejoin. We then tried to get some management, and after a couple of misguided attempts found our Joan of Arc – Switchflicker Records. Switchflicker introduced us to Zoe Hooker, who was our final piece in the puzzle. Although we don’t work fulltime with Ricky X anymore, he still contributes to The Real Dolls sound.

The band has a very distinctive musical style, what would you say has influenced your music?
The influences to our sound spread far and wide! It’s hard to pin point one overall influence but the sounds we listen to do tend to come more from the harder side of music. Hip Hop has evolved in so many ways and influenced so many genres and I think what we do is possibly most influenced by Hip Hop. We try to include different song structures and textures within our sound. I think you can hear Hip Hop, punk, J-Pop, electro and new wave heavy metal in our sound.

Would you say you were heavily influenced by Japan?
We’ve always been influenced by what’s happening in japan like cartoons, manga and anime, and the music like J-Pop that comes with it. Check out our Electro Tsunami video starring YOSHI doing her ParaPara moves which is a Japanese teen equivalent of line dancing with its musical counterpart being J pop . Since being introduced to this crazed phenomenon we have developed an unhealthy fascination with it . Check out the night on fire vid by Hinoi Team with KIROKKI   .. its astonishing ! Big UP Yoshi do your dance .If we’re some mutated Public enemy then Yosh is our Flavour Flav .. believe the HYPE !!!

Could you describe the music-making process? Taking debut single ‘Trophy’ as an example, how was the song put together?

The making of the very first version of ‘Trophy’ is in fact the making of our band. In that instance Peter Parker had made the beat for me to write the verses and the hook to. I then went and recorded the vocals with Dave and then we all arranged and perfected it together. However, the method is not always the same.

There is a wide array of music on offer in Manchester, what makes The Real Dolls standout?
I think what makes us stand apart is that we actually make use of this variety and involve it in our sound. There are no other bands in Manchester, or in fact the rest of the country, who can put so many styles together and still maintain such a cohesive sound and performance. Manchester is steeped in musical heritage and nostalgia so when a new band emerges it should sound fresh, like no other Manchester band that has gone before it, and that’s The Real Dolls. We’re a band of individuals who combined their own styles to create a new kooky pop sound.

What can people expect at a Real Dolls show?

You should expect to have a great time! We often get referred to as a party band, which is fine by us. We take what we do very seriously and we are very serious about having a good time and making people have a good time too.

What are your opinions of the current UK music scene?

I think it’s never been better; the club scene is huge and I think we have some of the most interesting DJ line-ups ever. However, I think it’s a little pointless to talk about a UK scene in general nowadays, especially with electronic music, as most people enjoy their music through the net. The Internet has brought us all into one huge scene where there is a huge amount of choice and quality.

How do you think The Real Dolls fit into the UK music scene?

I think we fit perfectly. We might be the outfit you weren’t too sure would suit you but once you tried it on you looked and felt like a radiant swan!

Do you think 2010 will be The Real Dolls’ year? What upcoming events are you excited about?

2010 is sooo our year! We are releasing our debut single ‘Trophy’ featuring MIA collaborator, Afrikan boy, and the fantastic artwork of ME AND MY PEN on Switchflicker Records in April. We are also dropping a free mix tape packed full of animalistic bangers, featuring some brand new freestyles from myself. Apart from that we have our monthly ‘PRONK’ parties at ‘The Deaf Institute’ and around town.

Debut single ‘Trophy’, featuring Afrikan Boy, is released in early 2010, how would you describe the song?

Trophy’ is Hip Hop club swagger it’s a dark electronic Hip Hop tune which mocks the notion of the flashy 21st century playa and his accessory model girlfriend.
“ You’re my trophy girl, come stand close to me”. Bringing home the final verse is Afrikan Boy, M.I.A collaborator and genius MC, going hard and putting down some serious fire. ‘Trophy’ is already proving a force to be reckoned with, regularly taking over the dance floor at the Dolls’ Manchester club night ‘PRONK!’

What is your biggest ambition for The Real Dolls?

To take over the planet.

Describe The Real Dolls in three words?


rod hotly

Rod Hotly



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